THAT famous Rangers fan and national treasure Andy Cameron surely cracked the old joke of his beloved team last season that they picked up more bookings than Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre.
Too many reds, yellows, and of course suspensions – and that’s even if you take Alfredo Morelos out of the disciplinary counting – which did for them last season, not the only reason they won nothing, but it played a huge part.
Steven Gerrard has, with the help of his captain James Tavernier, drawn up a new disciplinary of code of conduct, with new rules and fines written down. Now, it is down to the players to behave themselves or, to put it another way, grow up.
Tavernier said: “The gaffer had a chat with me and I definitely welcome it (the new code). Last season we had too many red cards and too many suspensions. Results might have gone different ways if we had all our players available.
‘There are more fines in place. We want the gaffer to have a headache at weekends with a full team to select. There’s not a lot you can do about an injury but we don’t want people missing due to suspension.”
We shall see.
Another thing Rangers need to do this season, as if there were only one or two, is to stop dropping points against teams not as good as they are.
Of course, if the ‘better’ team always, always wins, none of us would ever go to games. Football is great because of it’s unpredictability.
But Tavernier and his team-mates drew or lost at Dundee, a terrible team last season, and threw away wins so many times. Celtic didn’t do that. That, as much as the disciplinary aspect, hurt Steven Gerrard’s team
Tavernier was honest enough to admit that a lack of consistency did for then last season and with Kilmarnock coming up on Sunday on the first day of the season, a team Rangers dropped ten points to last time out, games such as this one need to be won if Celtic are to be genuinely challenged.
The Englishman said: “We need consistency. We can’t take our foot off the gas because we did that last season and we dropped points. That hindered us but we have learned our lessons. We don’t want to be experiencing any of that last season
“The first game of the new season is always very important. It’s against Kilmarnock and it’s a new team and a new manager and a new Astro, which will help. But we want to start the campaign off with a win.
“If you have any desire to challenge for anything at the end of the season you have to win games. and the first game of the season is a must-win for us.
“This, definitely, is my biggest season. It’s a responsibility that I am taking with a lot of pride. Hopefully I can lead the boys and be successful this season.”
The talking is almost done. The Premiership season is upon us and Rangers look in decent nick, more than that to be honest, and they at least seem to be ready to give Celtic a run for their, not money, but prestige.
Tavernier said: “We are as ready as we could be. We’ve worked incredibly hard this pre-season and except for Blackburn all of the results have gone our way. We’ve conceded only one goal in pre-season so it’s been good from a defensive point of view. It’s been a good pre-season.
“I’m not really surprised by how quickly the new guys have settled in. We work really hard on the training ground to get all the new boys up to pace. The lads who were here last season can help them out if they need it and the staff have been working really hard too on getting the new boys ready and it’s been showing in the games.
“It’s so much easier now it’s the second season. We all know the system and we all know what’s required. The new boys coming in can speak to the boys from last season. We are all here for the same journey, we all have the same targets and we all want to help each other out.”
Everyone staying on the park would be a good start.